I was never much of a fan of animated movies until my wife and I took our children to see Pixar/Disney’s Toy Story. Part of the film’s attraction was its touching chords from yesteryear of favorite toys and imaginative playtimes, but part of it was how the writers found ways to appeal to our quintessential hopes and dreams.
Prayer, as you know, is a powerful practice. When we go before God with the desires of our heart, we put ourselves in a place where God draws near to connect us to resources that are always sufficient for our need. You’ve surely experienced this divine help in your own life. Now it is time for us to call upon God in similar fashion on behalf of our church.
In a Halloween week it came to my attention that a false email account with my name attached made it into many church members’ inboxes. The FALSE account asked for a hefty sum of gift cards to be sent to me so that I could in turn pass them on to people in need.
It’s been a long time since we had young children in our house at Halloween. But I can still remember how ours always looked forward to Halloween and the chance to don a costume that represented what they might like to be if they could choose such a path. It’s been a lot longer since I was a child at Halloween. But as best I can remember, I was more concerned about the candy. I really didn’t care too much about the costume. The costume was for me simply a ticket to the treats.
What makes the Bible so fascinating to me is the way it invites us to ponder courses of action that run contrary to those of the prevailing culture and how, by so doing, we come to manifest the deeper dimensions of faith.
Preaching is my passion in ministry. While I acknowledge the other legs of the pastoral stool (administration and pastoral care), preaching is the part of ministry that gets my heart racing. The privilege of proclaiming sacred texts in ways that relate ancient wisdom to contemporary settings is what I find most invigorating about ministry.
When I was a young pastor, and did not know how much I did not know at that time, I often failed to appreciate the importance of signal anniversaries in the lives of church members. While there would usually be major league flower arrangements on the altar table commemorating those important times in a couple’s life, I was oblivious to the most significant marker that particular season was for the two persons being recognized. It was only when I noticed how on most of those Sundays the couple would be joined by other family members, usually children and grandchildren, who had often traveled long distances to be with their loved ones on this most high occasion that I began to see how a celebration of this sort was a truly big deal!
My sister used to have a sign in her room about making new friends, while keeping old ones. The tag line was that some of them were silver and the others gold. I often wondered if one group was supposed to be more cherished than the rest, but I think the point of the poster was that all friends should be valued. Some just come into our lives sooner than others.
No matter where I have lived, people have always complained about the weather. It’s too rainy or too dry, too hot or too cold. No one seems to be content with their climate. I always say, “Wait six months and we’ll be wishing for what we have now.” But I know even as I say our fickle ways with the weather only bring a modicum of relief.
“Have you ever had an opportunity to share your faith but didn’t?” That’s the haunting question posed by a discipleship study on outreach titled Share Jesus without Fear by William Fay and Ralph Hodge. The study’s premise is that all Christians have countless opportunities to name Jesus in their daily conversations but often don’t. The reasons are many, primarily: fear, a lack of knowledge about how to initiate such conversations, and (sadly) no real experience to share. Each of these reasons can be addressed, though it takes a believer’s willingness to make the first step to do so.